HHS: Health Centers Will Help Enrollment in New Health Coverage Options.; Application Simplified, Shortened

Health Centers to Help Uninsured Individuals Gain Affordable Health Insurance Coverage

Obama administration provides $150 million for health centers to offer enrollment assistance nationwide

 

Last week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced new funding to help more uninsured Americans enroll in new health insurance coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act. Approximately $150 million will help community health centers provide in-person enrollment assistance to uninsured individuals across the nation.  About 1,200 health centers operate nearly 9,000 service delivery sites nationwide and serve approximately 21 million patients each year. 

“Health centers have extensive experience providing eligibility assistance to patients, are providing care in communities across the Nation, and are well-positioned to support enrollment efforts,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Investing in health centers for outreach and enrollment assistance provides one more way the Obama administration is helping consumers understand their options and enroll in affordable coverage.”

With these new funds, health centers will be able to hire new staff, train existing staff, and conduct community outreach events and other educational activities. Health centers will help consumers understand their coverage options, determine their eligibility and enroll in new affordable health insurance options.  Community health center staff will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

This funding opportunity was issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and it complements and aligns with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service funded navigator program.

Last week’s funding announcement is part of the administration's larger effort to make applying for health insurance as easy as possible. For example, earlier this Spring, we released a single, streamlined application that was shortened from 21 to 3 pages. We are committed to providing the type of assistance that Americans need to ensure that they have access to affordable health care.

“Health centers work in communities across the country, giving them a unique opportunity to reach the uninsured in their communities and help connect them with the benefits of health insurance coverage under the health care law,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D, R.N.

Click on the link http://hhs.tv/Media/PublicResources.aspx. To view the files, click on the magnifying glass next to the file title. You can then download the files after registering on the same page.

For information on applying for this funding opportunity, visithttp://bphc.hrsa.gov/outreachandenrollment/

For a list of health centers eligible to apply for this funding visithttp://www.hrsa.gov/about/news/2013tables/outreachandenrollment/.

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, visit www.HealthCare.gov.  To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visithttp://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/index.html.

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Health Insurance Marketplace Application Simplified and Shortened

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that the application for health coverage has been simplified and significantly shortened. The application for individuals without health insurance has been reduced to three pages, and the application for families is reduced by two-thirds. The consumer-friendly forms are much shorter than industry standards for health insurance applications today.

In addition, for the first time consumers will be able to fill out one simple application and see their entire range of health insurance options, including plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and tax credits that will help pay for premiums.

 “Consumers will have a simple, easy-to-understand way to apply for health coverage later this year,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “The application for individuals is now three pages, making it easier to use and significantly shorter than industry standards. This is another step complete as we get ready for a consumer-friendly marketplace that will be open for business later this year.”

The online version of the application will be a dynamic experience that shortens the application process based on individuals’ responses. The paper application was simplified and tailored to meet personal situations based on important feedback from consumer groups.

Consumers can apply online, by phone or paper when open enrollment begins October 1, 2013. There will be clear information provided about how to complete the application, and how to access help applying and enrolling in coverage.

This consumer-focused approach will facilitate the enrollment of millions of Americans into affordable, high quality coverage while minimizing the administrative burden on states, individuals and health plans.

For more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit:www.HealthCare.gov.